Tuesday, June 29, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/29

  • Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan confronted her critics Monday on the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling them that her experience and her broad philosophy will bring impartiality and "a commitment to principle" to the court. Republicans, in turn, challenged the readiness of the 50-year-old Kagan to serve on the court.
  • The death of West Virginia Sen. Robert Carlyle Byrd, the Senate's longest serving member, is the latest in a recent series of vivid reminders that the Senate — and the ways it shapes major policies — is changing fast. Lawmakers who came to power before You Tube and the 24-hour news cycle are ever fewer.
  • The IRS is investigating allegations that the Miccosukee Tribe used armored vehicles to deliver up to $10 million in cash from its gambling operations to hundreds of Indians four times a year — without anyone reporting the money as taxable income. Its chairman, Billy Cypress, is suspected of charging at least $3 million on tribe credit cards for personal travel.
  • The California State Conference of the NAACP is due to throw its support behind the initiative to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, allow small residential cultivation and permit cities to tax and regulate pot sales. The organization contends marijuana arrest rates unfairly target African Americans.
  • Do we really have a country where perfectly healthy young people "have the time" to camp outside for two days so they can buy an electronic device? Most people who sleep in the street do so because they don't have money to spend, not because they have it to burn. This was a line to give your money to one of the world's already-richest corporations, just so you could make a phone call, send an e-mail or download something — all of which you can already do with existing devices.
  • Afghanistan's military and police aren't on track to meet President Barack Obama's 18-month timetable for starting to withdraw U.S. troops, according to a report released on Monday by an independent watchdog group.
  • Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the Army Monday that he intends to retire, military officials said, less than a week after President Barack Obama fired him as the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
  • When Allen "Rookie" Kruse shot himself aboard his boat last week, his crew wondered why they hadn't noticed his sudden depression. Then the realization hit: everyone is down after more than two months of a massive oil spill.
  • World leaders headed home Monday from a weekend summit with a huge question mark hanging over their work: Will their pledge to curb deficit spending help or hurt the global economy?
  • A heavily armed hit squad Monday killed the leading candidate for governor of Tamaulipas state, putting a chill on Mexico just six days before local and regional elections in 12 states. Tamaulipas is across the U.S. border from Texas and includes the crossing points of Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and Reynosa.
  • Conventional wisdom has it that education-obsessed Chinese parents send their children to years of arduous after-school tutoring to give them a leg up on the country's brutal college admissions tests. There may be more to it than that, however.
  • Shanghai is the nerve center of China's thriving economy, a booming metropolis that's leading the nation's charge to prosperity, but Qu Ting, like thousands of other poor students in China, seemed destined to be left in the dust.

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